Domain of One's Own: TRU Collector/Writer Sites

TRU Collector and TRU Writer are specially configured WordPress themes that allow you to easily set up a website for crowd-sourced image collection or writing. They differ from ordinary WordPress sites in that visitors can upload images or post articles without needing an account on the site. 

Before you start, you will need:

When to Use TRU Collector/Writer

  • TRU Collector and TRU Writer were designed for crowd-sourcing public work; use them when you have many potential contributors and it is impractical to create an account for each one. 
  • Crowd-sourced sites are vulnerable to spam, and the longer they are up, the longer hackers have to find them.
    • If possible, use an access code (see below) and domain-specific email requirements to make spamming more difficult
    • Monitor activity on your site and delete it or disable posting when you are done.
  • Even with an access code, contributed content will be publicly visible. If you want a website with restricted viewership, install an ordinary WordPress site and create Subscriber accounts for your viewers.  
  • If you have only a few contributors or will maintain the site for a long time, use an ordinary WordPress site and creating accounts for authors and editors instead.

Customize Your TRU Collector/Writer Site

Once you've installed a TRU Collector or TRU Writer site on your domain, you will need to configure it to receive submissions. 

Log in as an Administrator  

  1. Go to and click Dashboard to log into your DOO Dashboard (C-Panel).
  2. Click the administrative link for your TRU Collector/Writer site (the one ending in /wp-admin.php).
  3. Log in with the administrator username and password you set up when you installed the site. (If you’ve forgotten them, go back to the DOOO Dashboard > My Applications tab and click (view/edit details) to reset them.)
  4. You’re now on your site Dashboard, which looks like a typical WordPress Dashboard with three exceptions:
    •  A TRU Collector/Writer Options link in the top menu bar, where you can access Settings that control how the site works and Documentation.
    • The Posts menu option has been renamed Collectables (TRU Collector) or Writings (TRU Writer). On these sites, all posts are auto-generated when visitors complete a Collect or Write form.
    • An author-bot listed under Users, which will automatically publish the forms visitors submit. Do not delete or edit this user!! (You can add other Users to help you manage the site, however.)

Customize the Template

The template comes with sample content so you can see how everything works. View the site to see how these work in action and read the documentation available under the TRU Collector/Writer Options menu in the top menu bar).

When you’re ready to customize the site for your own use, remove/replace this sample content:

  1. Click Collectables/Writings then Categories to replace the sample categories with ones that are relevant for your site.  
  2. Click Collectables/Writings, then Tags and replace the sample tags with ones that are relevant for your site. (By default, visitors will be able to create their own tags, but you can disable this by unchecking the Show the tags entry ..option under Settings in TRU Collector/Writer Options menu.)
  3. Click Pages in the side menu to edit the framing text on the About, Welcome Desk and Collect/Write pages.
    • Most elements on these pages are auto-generated; you will only see and can edit titles and intro paragraphs.
    • If you see duplicates, edit the one with the most current date. (Delete the others to avoid confusion.)
  4. Customize the form fields on the Collect or Write page by clicking the TRU Collector/Writer Options menu in the top bar and choosing Settings. (See the documentation for details on different options.)
  5. Edit the site title and sidebar menus by clicking Appearance, then Customize in the left sidebar.
  6. Click Collectables/Writings and delete any sample posts that you don’t want to appear on the finished site.

Limit Access

To help prevent spam, require visitors to enter an access code on a Welcome Desk page in order to see the Collect/Write form. (Note: The access code is only as secure as your contributors keep it; if they share it or store insecurely, unauthorized users may gain access.) 

  1. Click TRU Collector/Writer Options in the top menu.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Under Access to Collector/Writing Tool, type in an an Access Code.
  4. Under Special Pages > Page for the Access Code, choose Welcome Desk.
  5. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.

If all contributors have college email addresses, you can require this for submission as an additional precaution:

  1. Click TRU Collector/Writer Options in the top menu.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Under Email Settings,  set Enable email address field to Yes, and make it required.
  4. Type the email domains into the Limit email addresses to domain(s) field, such as,
  5. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.

Test and Share

It’s always a good idea to test your site to make sure everything looks and works the way you expect and you know what instructions to give your contributors. (If you have colleagues who help test, even better!) Testing can also provide an opportunity to pre-load sample submissions so early visitors have content to browse through and examples of your metadata, categorization and tagging conventions.

  1. Open an incognito or private browser window.
  2. Paste the viewing URL for your site (i.e., the URL without /wp-admin.php at the end) into the browser navigation field.
  3. On your site, click the Collect/Write menu item and enter your Access Code if needed.
  4. Fill out and submit your form.
  5. Check that content is displayed as you wish -- if not, tweak your site settings then submit another test post through an incognito window. 

Once you are ready, share the viewing URL for your site and any instructions or access code with your contributors to get started!



If you have any additional questions or problems, don't hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440 | Library and Help Desk hours
Email: help@brynmawr.eduService catalog
Location: Canaday Library 1st floor